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Proud Parent
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Discussion Starter #1
Percy has a minor eye infection and got drops to last through the weekend. (4-5 days). The visit was 130 dollars. Is that reasonable? We were there like 20 minutes, and there were no special procedures done. The vet walked in, looked at the eye, prescribed the drops, and left. I'm happy to spend whatever money needed to keep him healthy, but money is so tight for me right now. Thoughts?

Thanks!
 

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Beware of Nestle Purina
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Sounds about right. My vet itemizes the bill. Does your's? If your concerned about the cost overall you could ask for an itemized bill so you can see what the costs where. Walk-in/emergency is more expensive than pre- scheduled for example. The eye drops are probably a good part of the cost with mark-up.
 

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My vet visits run about $50 for an exam, (diagnostic or well check up) and then the cost of medications on top of that. Unless the drops were $80, that would seem a bit high to me--but obviously location can impact costs--to give you a perspective, I am in the Chicago suburban area.
 

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In the Moment
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I think that's high. I just had Maggie in yesterday for both ears being infected. He examined both ears, talked for a few minutes about her. The exam ran $27.00..... I had the meds at home so there was no medication for her to be charged, but that would have been above the exam fee.
 

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That seems high but I live in a small town where no one would be able to afford that if we had those prices here. We've taken Bella in several times for a quick look at something and haven't been charged for the visit. Just the meds. She even popped a pimple like thing on Bella's spay scar and didn't charge us anything. She's a good lady.
 

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It's going to depend on the area of the country you are in as well as exactly what you were charged for the services vs. the costs of the medication.

If you weren't given an itemized bill, ask for one. My guess is the eye drops that were prescribed are the culprit. Bausch and Lomb has been buying up a lot of the smaller eye medication manufacturers and jacking up the price. They basically have a monopoly now. Almost all of the eye meds prescribed to our Toby after his cataract removal surgery are more expensive than they were last year.

Most vets in my area charge about $50 a visit for the vet exam. It's not unreasonable for that tiny bottle of eye medication to cost over $60. Many veterinary clinics add on a dispensing fee as well to prepare the medication. If you were a new patient there could be a charge for getting your records set up. If it was an emergency visit the charge could be higher.
 

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Had he been there before? My vet charges more for the first time the animal is in (I guess putting them in the computer) and has a standard fee for walking in the door. Did the drops cost as well? Animals are expensive unfortunately....

Hope he gets better soon!
 

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Dr. Rainheart
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It depends on what exactly was done. Look at your itemized bill.
Our vet charges $49 for an exam.
$30 sum for an eye stain
Plus meds, which could be $18-40
 

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I took Tundra in recently because he was blinking one eye a lot and it was pretty bloodshot. The vet did a thorough exam, making sure it wasn't ulcerated. It wasn't, just irritated (Tundra likes to wallow and rub his face in the grass!). The visit was $40 and the Aktrol Ointment was $21.
 

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Depending on the eye meds, things can be pricey.
 

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The drops for Jax's eye ulcer this summer were rather expensive. I can't remember how much, but it was more than $30. If you got something like that, it would explain some of the cost.

Were there no drops put in Percy's eye as part of the exam? They usually use a fluorescing drop to visualize any scratches or ulcers.
 

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groobie peese n da lobe
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Holy cow! In my opinion, N. American vets charge WAY too much!

Here in Taiwan, I had the exact same visit with Buddy. He had an eye infection, we went in and he had a full eye exam. We were there for about 30 min. The total cost, including the drops was less about $10.00 (American).

I just took him in recently for a blood test and the exam, labs and meds for 1 week was under $20.00.

If I ever go in for a question or if I take Buddy in to be checked for something etc..they sort of laugh at me if I offer to pay.

I just cannot understand why it is so much more expensive there.

I am not so sure I could afford Buddy back home in Canada. Then again, I am sure I wouldnt be running him off to the vet for every sniffle either :D
 

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Lots of people are very uncomfortable discussing how much things are going to cost when they go to the vet. But by bringing up "how much is this going to cost" question during the visit, you and the vet could possibly have looked at options (maybe he had some sample tubes of eye ointment that would have worked just as well as the drops).
It is better to inquire ahead of time, than to wait until you see the bill and feel upset.
 

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and Luvtazz too
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That seems high if they did not stain the eye. I always ask for a prescription, get it filled at a Walmart.
 

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It's way too expensive, but it may be standard for vets. They charge these ridiculous fees and then sort of shrug their shoulders and ask "Why don't people get their pets in for more regular exams?". Um, because people are sick of being ripped off.

It's really frustrating for me as a low-income person who loves my dog. I had a vet bill this summer that was close to $300 and crippled me financially for a long time to where I barely could eat for a while. I called the vet to complain and never received a call back. Needless to say, I'll be finding a new vet, and am seriously considering just going to a clinic at a pet store to get regular vaccinations next year for my pet and only seeing a vet in the event of a medical emergency- not the way I want to do things, but I feel like I'm not being given a whole lot in the way of choices. I have a sister who does things that way with her dog.

I would really love to see a big veterinary chain start up that is aggressive about keeping costs down and advertises all their prices up front, preferably on a website, maybe using veterinary techs to do regular stuff that a vet isn't strictly necessary for, buying generic medicines in bulk, etc.. Sort of a Wal-Mart of the veterinary world. I think it would allow a lot more pet owners (and therefore a lot more pets) to get more regular veterinary care for their animals at costs they can afford, and I think a smart businessperson could actually make a lot of money doing it.

Though it's not always true on the Internet, in real life every pet owner I've met struggles to pay for this kind of stuff and has to cut corners they don't want to cut. A vet that could advertise low prices would make a killing with that group. Almost every pet owner I know personally would immediately switch if the prices were right. I have an aunt who has had dogs her whole life and would dearly love another and is hesitating because of the veterinary costs she faced with her last dog.

One issue with the medical world in general- for humans as well as animals- is that providers tend to skate around giving you real good cost estimates and competing on price. There's very often not a situation where they'll sit there and advertise: "Standard exam: $30", "Standard yearly vaccinations: $30", or whatever. Now, if you're a human and have health insurance, this may not be that big of a deal. But if you aren't insured, or you are taking a pet to see a vet, or maybe you don't have specific eye or dental insurance and need those services, it can be a *very* big deal.
 

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Holy cow! In my opinion, N. American vets charge WAY too much!

Here in Taiwan, I had the exact same visit with Buddy. He had an eye infection, we went in and he had a full eye exam. We were there for about 30 min. The total cost, including the drops was less about $10.00 (American).

I just took him in recently for a blood test and the exam, labs and meds for 1 week was under $20.00.

If I ever go in for a question or if I take Buddy in to be checked for something etc..they sort of laugh at me if I offer to pay.

I just cannot understand why it is so much more expensive there.

I am not so sure I could afford Buddy back home in Canada. Then again, I am sure I wouldnt be running him off to the vet for every sniffle either :D
I think a lot of the higher charges here in the States are due to ever increasing malpractice insurance rates and premises liability insurance that veterinarians and practices must carry. Plus pharmaceutical costs are rising dramatically due to the fact drug manufacturers are consolidating and raising prices. They also must carry product liability insurance and that increases costs for the drugs.

Toby's had several drops prescribed since his cataract surgery. One was administered in the clinic and was over $100, but that included monitoring for a half-day and frequent pressure checks throughout the day to make sure it was working as intended. Another med (in a tiny bottle) was $80. Another one $60, and the ones we are using now--one is $30 and one is $60. I called my pharmacy to see if they carried these drops and what they charged and their charges were about the same.
 

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Dr. Rainheart
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Um... this is exactly what my vet and many vet's do. But, you do have to keep in mind that it is a business. If you are financially strapped, that is fine; we work with you. Ask for an estimate, or set a limit of what you can do and perhaps only do the vaccinations that are needed with the exam and then come back in a month or so and get the rest that don't need an exam and can be done by a technician.

It's way too expensive, but it may be standard for vets. They charge these ridiculous fees and then sort of shrug their shoulders and ask "Why don't people get their pets in for more regular exams?". Um, because people are sick of being ripped off.

It's really frustrating for me as a low-income person who loves my dog. I had a vet bill this summer that was close to $300 and crippled me financially for a long time to where I barely could eat for a while. I called the vet to complain and never received a call back. Needless to say, I'll be finding a new vet, and am seriously considering just going to a clinic at a pet store to get regular vaccinations next year for my pet and only seeing a vet in the event of a medical emergency- not the way I want to do things, but I feel like I'm not being given a whole lot in the way of choices. I have a sister who does things that way with her dog.

I would really love to see a big veterinary chain start up that is aggressive about keeping costs down and advertises all their prices up front, preferably on a website, maybe using veterinary techs to do regular stuff that a vet isn't strictly necessary for, buying generic medicines in bulk, etc.. Sort of a Wal-Mart of the veterinary world. I think it would allow a lot more pet owners (and therefore a lot more pets) to get more regular veterinary care for their animals at costs they can afford, and I think a smart businessperson could actually make a lot of money doing it.

Though it's not always true on the Internet, in real life every pet owner I've met struggles to pay for this kind of stuff and has to cut corners they don't want to cut. A vet that could advertise low prices would make a killing with that group. Almost every pet owner I know personally would immediately switch if the prices were right. I have an aunt who has had dogs her whole life and would dearly love another and is hesitating because of the veterinary costs she faced with her last dog.

One issue with the medical world in general- for humans as well as animals- is that providers tend to skate around giving you real good cost estimates and competing on price. There's very often not a situation where they'll sit there and advertise: "Standard exam: $30", "Standard yearly vaccinations: $30", or whatever. Now, if you're a human and have health insurance, this may not be that big of a deal. But if you aren't insured, or you are taking a pet to see a vet, or maybe you don't have specific eye or dental insurance and need those services, it can be a *very* big deal.
 

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A standard exam at my vet is $75.

I know it's because of the location, right in downtown Toronto. It is high, but they have excellent follow-up, which I value a lot. I walked in with no appointment last week after Tee tore her dew claw for the umpteenth time, and asked if I could buy a little vet tape so I could wrap the nail when I play ball with her. Not only did they happily sell me a little roll (for all of $5), they told me to bring her in, and they took the time to show me how to use it, how to wrap so it wasn't too tight (remember, I had no appointment), and then I got two follow up emails in the next few days to make sure it wasn't causing swelling, and then to check and see if the claw itself was healing well.

When Tee was sick last spring with the stomach issues, they totally gave me a break down of costs and an estimate, as well as alternatives if I didn't want to do the $900 ultrasound.

It IS a business, but I could choose to go elsewhere. I don't. I like the vets, I like the techs. And I trust them, which is worth every penny.
 

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What kind of eye drops are they, by the way?

One thing I found with my own optomologist who prescribed me steroid eye drops a year or two back is that he tried to insist on a name brand that cost $100 a bottle. I told him I simply didn't have that kind of money and wouldn't be getting it, and eventually he agreed to prescribe me the generic equivalent- which was a little less than $20 a bottle. Still expensive, but 1/5th the price, and it did the trick. In most cases, generics are just fine. I get all my regular medications as generics.

So that's definitely one thing to check, don't let them prescribe you name brands-- especially for a dog. Insist on a generic equivalent if it exists. In very rare cases, a name brand can be medically necessarily, but those are very rare cases. Usually generics are exactly the same, or close enough.
 

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I see that you're in Atlanta, GA - my sister-in-law lives there and I always think her vet bills are really high (compared to mine). I would think the high price has to do with the area you live in. I live about an hour outside of DC (which still has DC prices), and so I drive another 40 minutes away from the city to a vet I trust that is also more affordable.
 
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